Human Journey

The New Electric Mini-Cooper

By Shannon Arvizu

The Mini Cooper is fun and sporty–but what if it was also the greenest car on the market? This year marks the field trial of the new Mini-E, an all electric Mini Cooper. It consumes no gas, releases zero-emissions from its tailpipe, and has lots of high torque for a zippy pick-up on the road.

So how does it work? The Mini-E has a state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery. The battery stores 150 miles of electric propulsion. When plugged into a 240-volt special charging wall box (installed by arrangement with the dealer), the Mini-E recharges in 2.5 hours. Given that most Americans drive less than 40 miles a day, this range should be quite sufficient for daily commutes and more.

The Mini-E also boasts major savings in fuel costs. Given average electricity rates and drive patterns, Tom Gage, the CEO of AC Propulsion (which produced the drive system for the Mini-E), estimates that most drivers will spend three cents per mile. At $2 per gallon gasoline, that is about 60 percent less than what you would pay for fuel in a regular Mini Cooper. At $4 per gallon gasoline, you spend about 85 percent less.

450 lucky people in Los Angeles and the New York and New Jersey area will be chosen to lease the Mini-E for one year . Drivers will be selected from among the 1,800 applications received by the company. Winners will be announced in March. While the leasing price may seem a tad costly ($850/month) , this has not deterred many enthusiastic potential drivers from the opportunity to take the hottest new green car of the year for a spin.

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